GPS Coordinates” 57°17’49.65″N 158° 1’28.06″W
Trip Questionnaire: Please click on the link below. This will take you an electronic questionnaire form that we ask you to complete and submit to The Fly Shop. Please be sure to click the “Submit” button at the end of the form. The information provided will help us — and the outfitter best coordinate your trip. THANK YOU! Trip Questionnaire: Click Here
Fishing Reports: If you are interested in receiving fishing reports from the Lava Creek Lodge, please go to this webpage to sign up. Click HERE
King Salmon (Chinook)
These are the largest fresh/cold water animals to target with a fly. Lava Creek Lodge kings average 20 – 30 pounds.
Single-handed fly rods: For those anglers that like to use a single-handed rod, the Lava Creek Lodge rivers are best fished with a 9’ or 9’ 6” graphite rod designed to cast a 9, or 10-weight fly line. Each angler should consider having two rods available for the trip. Each rod should be rigged with a different fly and fly line combination. This saves time changing reels, spools and lines – maximizing your time on the water and swinging flies through and over salmon.
Single-handed fly reels: A high quality, single-action (direct drive) fly reel with rim-control feature is what to look for in a fly reel appropriate to handle mint-bright Chinooks. The reel should be equipped with a smooth, reliable, preferably disk-drag system. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 150 yards of fresh 20 or 30 lb. high-visibility backing. Reel models to consider might include: Galvan, Hardy, Abel, and Hatch.
Single-handed fly rod lines: The proper collection of fly lines is critical to your success and will get your fly in the proper water column. You need two lines or line systems to effectively fish the Lava Creek Lodge rivers.
- 8’ – 14’ sink-tip: This is an important line for covering the varying pieces of water levels on the rivers. We highly recommend Scientific Anglers Sonar sink-tip lines, in a Type 5 sink.
- 25’ sink-tip: Don’t leave home without it! The most indispensible fly line in your arsenal is the 25-foot sink-tip in different grain weights and densities. The perfect lines are Scientific Anglers Sonar Sinking Tip Fly Lines in 200 grains, 250 grain, and 300 grain models. Teeny Nymph T-series in 200 grain (5.5 ips), and 300 grain (7.3 ips) are also good.
- The most popular single-handed fly line for kings at Lava Creek Lodge is a custom sinking tip, comprised of a Scientific Anglers Titan Floating Taper, with some custom looped tungsten tips. Specifically, you would want three different, 12’ tungsten tips – one in T-10, one in T-14, and one in T-18. We can make these for you here at The Fly Shop®, and put welded loops on them so you can simply loop to loop them onto the Titan Floating Taper.
Double-handed fly rods: Two-handed rods are very popular and excellent tools for covering the water. In the last three years we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of anglers using two-handed rods. 9wt’s and 10wt’s between 12.5 and 14 feet long are the most popular choices. Two-handed rods are arguably the most efficient tool to fish anadromous species. They make it easy for a lot of anglers, especially those with shoulder or elbow problems.
When considering a double-handed rod, don’t automatically go for the longest and strongest rod on the market. Get together with a casting and rod expert, and test several different weights, lengths and manufacturers until you find the rod that best fits your casting style, as well as the type of water and lines and flies you will be fishing.
Spey casting will certainly have an advantage of efficiency and distance. If you have not already joined the two-handed revolution, now is the time to start! Spey casters can simply cover more water more effectively. The Sage , Scott, and Echo are excellent rods to consider.
Reels: This is probably the most important part of your tackle system! A reel of mediocre quality will not withstand the brute force of a fresh sea run trophy Chinook. Any high-quality single action reel with 150+ yards of backing capacity with a good drag system will work fine. Your classic Hardy’s and other noise makers, which we all love while steelheading, may be in big trouble against these powerful king’s…. Be warned. Abel, Hatch, Hardy, Galvan are great choices.
Lines: Have a look over this diagram of the 2 main styles of modern short belly heads for 2 handers. For Kings’s, we only have to be concerned with the Skagit lines… These fish won’t rise to the surface, and Scandi’s don’t throw tips, so they are not useful tools in this game. This will serve as a general guideline that anyone with any questions about lines should follow. If you are uncertain which line you should select to properly match your rod, do not hesitate to contact us. We are experts in this field and we are happy to assist you in preparing the correct rod/line combinations.
Skagit style lines, the ones you want for chinook fishing, are basically shortened condensed shooting heads for spey rods developed in the Pacific North West by a hard-core group of anglers that were looking for a way to cast sinking tip and large weighted flies long distances, with a very short compact casting stroke.
They are ideal for Kings. No other line can handle the deep tips we need in combo with the nasty flies we throw. These heads are the way forward in Chinook world. These lines should be paired with the MOW Kit sink tips (in T-11). Many Skagit casters prefer to prepare their own sink tips using varied lengths of T-11. We prefer these custom tips in 2.5ft increasing length increments. To be clear, we suggest getting the MOW Kit T-11 – with all sink rates included – as this will cover you for any depth, or speed of water situation.
Leaders: Leaders are very simple…15-to-25-pound Maxima Ultragreen.
King Salmon Flies: Flies used are standard attractor patterns tied on stout hooks, sizes 4 to 2/0. IMPORTANT – really large patterns (4” – 6”) that are so effective on many king salmon rivers are not particularly effective on Lava Creek Lodge’s rivers. Any number of patterns will work well here, but flies in the 2.5” – 3” long range have clearly been far more effective than the longer patterns.
Your flies should vary from lightly weighted to non-weighted. Very heavy patterns such as those tied with large dumbbell eyes are not necessary, and in fact are normally less effective. Colors should range from black, to orange, pink, purple, flame, red, chartreuse, or any combination thereof. A large weighted black streamer can be deadly. Large egg-patterns like King Caviar, and Egg/Sperm flies and the Egg-sucking Leech (black/purple) tied on a long shank stout hook work well.
Chinook flies are very similar to winter steelhead flies. Most of the usual winter steelhead menu, in the full spectrum of colors commonly used will work. Some are dark and somber. Others are vibrant and bright. This is because of the diversity of water conditions, and run timing. Even the same river can display different moods and may go from low and clear to high and dark in a matter of hours. A large assortment of wet flies in varying sizes, colors, and weights will work well. A few favorites are Black or Purple for darks, and Pink or Chartreuse for bright colors. Orange, Cherise and combos of all of the above will all have their moments throughout the spring and summer. Tube Flies are the newest fly design concept to hit king and steelhead fly fishing, and the possibilities are endless. Tubes allow swing fishermen versatility when it comes to meeting changing conditions by changing the type of tube they use, allowing more control over the depth and action of the fly. They also have the advantage of having a larger fly with a shorter shank hook, exactly what is called for. Remember to have flies also in varying weights and sizes as well as a variety of colors. It pays to carry a variety of patterns and be prepared for whatever nature and her fish can throw at you. Chinook will always be deliciously unpredictable.
- Stu’s Rhea Intruder (pink/white, blue/purple), #1/0
- Paul Miller’s Spey Prawn (hot orange, chartreuse, pink), #1/0
- River Rat Marabou Spey Tube, #4 (probably the #1 producing fly for lodge guests)
- Stu’s Turbo Tube (purple, orange/pink)
- Stu’s Tiger Tail Turbo Tube
- Sililegs Intruder (pink/orange, pink/blue, blue/green), #1/0
- Hartwick Flashtail Tube
- Egg Sucking Jig Wiggler Leech (purple) #4
Remember that your guide will provide many or all of the flies that you will need. You can also feel free to call the The Fly Shop® (800) 669-3474 to put a supplemental package together for you.
Bring oversized hooks as well, especially for tube flies where it’s easy to change out hooks! These fish are absolute beasts, and standard steelhead hooks will sometimes bend out. Gamakatsu Octopus #2/0 are great to change them out with.
The following list of essential gear for Chinook Salmon is one we’ve shared with hundreds of fly fishers just like you, and it’s a setup that can be easily modified and tailored to each anglers wants, needs seasons, and different trip lengths.
Silver Salmon (Coho)
Fly rods: Single handed fly rods are perfect for silvers, as casting distance is not critical, but actively stripping the flies back is important. Double handed rods are not needed to fish Cohos and not as an effective tool as a single handed rod. We recommend an 8-weight graphite rod, 9’ or 9’ 6” in length. Generally speaking, a floating line is all you’ll need, though a Type III 15’ sinking tip can be a very effective streamer line.
Fly reels: A high quality, single-action (direct drive) fly reel with rim-control feature is what to look for in a fly reel appropriate to handle ocean-bright coho. The reel should be equipped with a smooth, reliable, preferably disk-drag system. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 150 yards of fresh 20 lb. high-visibility backing. Reel models to consider include: Galvan, Hardy, Abel, and Hatch.
Fly lines: The proper collection of fly lines is critical to your success and will get your fly in the proper water column. You need two lines to effectively fish the Lava Creek Lodge rivers.
- Floating line: Preferably a weight-forward fly line like Scientific Angler’s Freshwater Titan Taper, or their Anadro fly line. When conditions are right a floater can really come into play; either fishing a weighted wet fly just under the surface, or skating a Pink Pollywog across the surface. Often the only line you really need.
- 10’ – 15’ sink-tip: This can be an important line for covering varying water levels on the river. A Type III is just fine. We highly recommend Scientific Anglers Sonar sink-tip lines, in a Type III sink.
Silver salmon flies: The Lava Creek Lodge coho fishery is a typical Alaska summer/fall-run scenario – big, chrome-bright fish in the 8–15-pound range flooding into late-season rivers with cold water temperatures. The fish are aggressive to the fly and screaming hot when hooked, and typically as aggressive to a surface popper as to a weighted streamer fished mid-depth. Floating lines – particularly those with extended, bulky front tapers – are usually all the angler will need here, though sink-tips can be quite effective for those who like to strip streamers. Traditionally- tied flies should be on hook sizes from 4 – 1/0. Egg-Sucking leeches should be full and long, up to 4 inches in length. Flies should be tied full with lots of flash in varying colors and color combinations. Don’t be afraid to tie and throw larger flies for these fish, they love ‘em.
- Foam Top Wog – our favorite surface pattern #2/0
- Hareball Leeches (fuchsia, bubblegum, orange/chartreuse, pink/orange, purple) #1/0 – probably the single most used streamer pattern for Lava Creek Lodge silvers
- Egg Sucking Leech variations using marabou or rabbit strip in black & purple (add dazzle w/flashabou or crystal flash)
- Popsicle, size 1/0
- Bjorn Super Prawn Series (varying color combinations)
- Starlite Egg Sucking Leeches, purple, or pink
- Sililegs Intruder #1/0 pink/purple
*Stripping guards are a good idea to bring along for silver season*
The following list of essential gear for Coho Salmon is one we’ve shared with hundreds of fly fishers just like you, and it’s a setup that can be easily modified and tailored to each anglers wants, needs seasons, and different trip lengths.
Fly rods: Single or double-handed rods are perfect for chums. Casting distance is rarely critical, and chums love a swung fly, much like kings, as well as often being willing to chase stripped flies. We recommend an 8-weight graphite rod, 9’ in length. Generally speaking, a floating line is all you’ll need, though a Type III or IV 15’ sinking tip can be a very effective streamer line.
Fly reels: A high quality, single-action (direct drive) fly reel with rim-control feature is what to look for in a fly reel appropriate to handle ocean-bright chums. The reel should be equipped with a smooth, reliable, preferably disk-drag system. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 150 yards of fresh 20 lb. high-visibility backing. Reel models to consider include: Galvan, Hardy, Abel, and Hatch.
Fly lines: The proper collection of fly lines is critical to your success and will get your fly in the proper water column. You need two lines to effectively fish the Lava Creek Lodge rivers.
- Floating line: Preferably a weight-forward fly line like Scientific Angler’s Freshwater Titan Taper. When conditions are right a floating line can really come into play, typically swinging or stripping streamers.
- 8’ – 15’ sink-tip: This can be an important line for covering varying water levels on the river. A Type III sink rate is just fine. We highly recommend Scientific Anglers Sonar sink-tip lines, or equivalent.
Chum salmon flies: The Lava Creek Lodge chum fishery is a typical Alaska summer-run scenario – big, chrome-bright fish in the 6–12-pound range flooding into the rivers in mid-summer. These salmon are super aggressive to either a swung or stripped fly, and incredibly powerful when hooked. They are in many ways very similar to kings, just not as consistently large. Traditionally-tied flies should be on hook sizes from 4 – 1/0. Egg-Sucking leeches should be full and long, up to 4 inches in length. Flies should be tied full with lots of flash in varying colors and color combinations. Just as with silvers later in the season, you don’t want to be afraid to tie and throw larger flies for these fish, they love ‘em.
- Hareball Leeches (fuchsia, bubblegum, orange/chartreuse, pink/orange, purple) #1/0
- Egg Sucking Leech variations using marabou or rabbit strip in black & purple (add dazzle w/flashabou or crystal flash) – probably the single most used streamer pattern for Lava Creek Lodge chum salmon – these fish love egg-sucking leeches
- River Rat Tube
- Stu’s Tiger Tail Turbo Cone (tube) hot pink
- Sililegs Intruder #1/0 pink/black, pink/blue
- Burnt Chicken #2 pink/purple (a guide favorite)
- Stu’s Jungle Tail Turbo Cone (tube)
- Stu’s Metal Tube, purple
Rainbow Trout & Dolly Varden (Season-long)
As well as the world-class salmon fishing at Lava Creek Lodge, guests are welcome to pursue the targets of rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. The waters fished with Lava Creek Lodge get enormous runs of sea-run Dolly Varden, and at least the home river has a resident population of beautiful rainbow trout.
Fly rods: Single handed rods are perfect for these species, as casting distance is not critical. We recommend a 6-weight graphite rod, 9’ or 9’ 6” in length. Generally speaking, a floating line is all you’ll need, though a Type III 15’ sinking tip can be a very effective streamer line.
Fly reels: A high quality, single-action (direct drive) fly reel with rim-control feature is what to look for in a fly reel. The reel should be equipped with a smooth, reliable, preferably disk-drag system. Reels should be filled with a minimum of 100 yards of fresh 20 lb. high-visibility backing. Reel models to consider include: Galvan, Ross, or The Fly Shop’s L2A.
Fly lines: A good quality weigh forward floating line is the most important line to have for these species, preferably a weight-forward fly line like Scientific Angler’s MPX, or Titan Taper.
Rainbow and Dolly Varden flies: These species can add a great change of pace from the non-stop salmon fishing that is always available. These fish will take egg flies; the trout will be aggressive to skated mouse patterns, streamers, and flesh flies; dollies will sometimes take skated dry flies and small poppers.
- Mr Hankey Mouse – our favorite surface mouse pattern #4
- Dali Lama – olive/white or black/white #6
- Egg Sucking Leech variations using marabou or rabbit strip in black & purple #2-#4
- Articulated Flesh, white #6
- Morrish Medusa (fleshy) #2
- RK’s 20-20 Minnow (blue/white) #4
- TFS King Smolt #2
- Silvey’s Sculpin (tan, olive, black) #4
Travel to Lava Creek Lodge
Important Information on Charter Flights to and from Lava Creek Lodge
The air charter flights between Anchorage and the lodge are included in your weeklong angling package and apply ONLY to flights on Sunday. Please be aware that if you miss the charter flight to Lava Creek Lodge from Anchorage on your day of arrival, you will be responsible to find your way to the lodge, more than likely through King Salmon, Alaska, and then an air taxi charter with Branch River Air Service.
Weather Delays – Given the remoteness of Lava Creek Lodge and its location on the Alaskan Peninsula – where most of North America’s weather originates – inclement weather can delay you getting to the lodge on arrival day, or back to Anchorage on your day of departure. Phil Byrd, owner of Lava Creek Lodge, will do everything in his power to get you to and from the lodge, always with safety in mind. Yet on occasion there will be times when weather prevents flying on the normal turnaround day. With this in mind, the following details the options traveling anglers have in such cases.
Anchorage Departure Delays – If weather precludes the charter flight from flying to the lodge on your scheduled day of arrival, you will be responsible for any additional night(s) lodging in Anchorage. As soon as you can safely fly to the lodge, they will get you on the charter flight.
Lodge Departure Delays – If you are at the lodge and inclement weather is approaching that will prevent the scheduled air charter to Anchorage from flying, you have the option to wait out the storm and fly back to Anchorage when it is safe. The lodge will accommodate this at no extra charge. A delay of this nature will of course require you rebook your commercial airline accommodations back home.
If such a delay in getting home is not an option for you, there is the alternate choice of departing the lodge a day or more earlier to accommodate returning home as scheduled. If you decide to leave early, Phil will arrange for the special charter flight, and you will be responsible for that charter’s cost. That cost, per person, is listed below. Of course, the more people who want to share such an earlier, unscheduled flight, the less the rate will be for each person. The only caveat to this is that the charter plane used can take five anglers and their entire luggage, but if six or more anglers want the early flight, two planes will have to be used to accommodate both the passengers and their luggage. Thus, the increase in per person rates that kicks in at six passengers.
Aircraft transfer costs one way, per person:
1 passenger: $5,600 2 passengers: $2,800 3 passengers: $1,867 4 passengers: $1,400
5 passengers: $1,120 6 passengers: $1,733 7 passengers: $1,486 8 passengers: $1,300
Weight is CRITICAL in the bush plane environment:
Maximum baggage allowance: 50 pounds total per person. This maximum weight allowance includes your soft duffel bag (40 pounds) and any liquor you purchase in Anchorage that you are flying down on the charter flight for your week at Lava Creek Lodge (10 pounds, canned beer only). Absolutely no hard suitcases, avoid HUGE duffel bags, and rod tubes must not exceed five feet. Keep in mind that two medium-sized duffels are much easier to pack into a small plane than one large one.
If you exceed the 50-pound maximum baggage limit per person, you will be asked to leave some gear Alaska Air Transit hanger to be reclaimed on your trip back home.
Alaska Air Transit will need to know all passengers’ weights, in order to know how to best allocate passengers on the two planes transferring guests between Anchorage and the lodge. We will ask for this in the Guest Questionnaire accompanying your first deposit payment receipt.
Wading Boots – Alaska Department of Fish & Game:
Anglers are reminded that footgear with absorbent felt or other fibrous material on the soles are prohibited in Alaska. You must bring rubber-soled wading boots, no studs please.
The most convenient way to buy your Alaska Sport Fishing License is online. If you are fishing for king salmon (so if you’re fishing through late July), you will also need to purchase a king stamp.
The lodge does NOT sell fishing licenses; you must purchase your license in advance of your arrival to the lodge, online, at: http://www.admin.adfg.state.ak.us/license/purchasing.html
Prices Non-Resident AK Sport Fishing License Non-resident King Salmon Stamp
7 Day Sport Fishing License: $70 7 Day Stamp: $45
14 Day Sport Fishing License: $105 14 Day Stamp: $75
Annual Sport Fishing License: $145 Annual Stamp: $100
Note: King Salmon Stamps are no needed during Coho season
*BUSH PLANE FLIGHT ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE TIMES ARE APPROXIMATE AND SUBJECT TO WEATHER DELAYS*
Gratuities are a personal thing based on service rendered, and should be based on merit. Normally, guides and staff are tipped upon departure in accordance to their individual effort and service. In most cases, we like to leave a gratuity with the camp or lodge owner or manager, who will split it up among all staff. The gold standard for gratuities at a fishing lodge is 10-15% of the cost of the lodge, which tells the lodge staff and guides that they met or exceeded your expectations.
Communications and Internet Service at the Lodge:
Cell phones will not work. At Lava Creek Lodge there is a phone that clients can use, on a limited basis. There is also limited Wi-Fi (adequate to send and receive emails, but not to send images or stream videos). There is a satellite phone at the lodge in case of any emergencies.
CPAP machines – the lodge has an electrical inverter system, which allows full power to all of the cabins all night long. Feel free to bring and use your CPAP breathing/sleeping machines.
Keeping Silver (Coho) Salmon ONLY:
Although Lava Creek Lodge is a catch and release only fishery, if you would like to keep some Silver (Coho) Salmon to bring home, then please plan on bringing a soft cooler. You are limited to three to four Cohos per angler to bring home.
Lava Creek Lodge provides complimentary soap and shampoo for their guests, and supplies two clean towels and washcloths for the week.
If you have not sent us you completed questionnaire, please click on the link below. This will take you an electronic questionnaire form that we ask you to complete and submit to The Fly Shop. Please be sure to click the “Submit” button at the end of the form. The information provided will help us — and the outfitter best coordinate your trip. THANK YOU! Click Here:
As with many small, highly sought-after fly fishing operations, Lava Creek Lodge has a “first right of refusal” rebooking policy in place to better support anglers who wish to return the following year. Each guest has the opportunity to rebook the same corresponding week the following season. To do so, a written or verbal commitment must be made known to The Fly Shop within 14 days after the current departure date from Lava Creek Lodge. At that point you will be invoiced for deposit to guarantee your reservation the following season.
If we do not hear from you within this 14-day period, we will release your space to other interested anglers.
Thank you for your cooperation and thank you for your support, we greatly appreciate it.
If you have questions, or would like to make a payment using your credit card, please call us toll free at (800) 669-3474 or (530) 222-3555. Any of us here are happy to assist you in any way that we can.